World Cup ad sales leave ITV frustrated over sport

ITV Sales managing director Gary Digby admits that the broadcaster does not know how to sell next year’s Rugby World Cup to advertisers, following disappointing sales for the football World Cup.

ITV Sales managing director Gary Digby admits that the broadcaster does not know how to sell next year’s Rugby World Cup to advertisers, following disappointing sales for the football World Cup.

The tournament, which is being staged at the moment, has attracted ITV1 audiences of up to 20 million, but has failed to attract advertisers.

Digby says he is frustrated that advertisers are asking for major events like the World Cup but then failing to engage with them. He says: “They tell us they want events like the World Cup but the reality is their actions don’t reflect that want.”

ITV is also said to be considering its commitment to bidding for the next European Championship, Euro 2008, in partnership with the licence-funded BBC.

Digby says: “We made a really big effort with the World Cup, everybody knew about it. We did everything right, and I admit we sometimes don’t get it right, but we couldn’t have done more to market the World Cup.

“We are now thinking what can we do with next year’s Rugby World Cup. What do we go out and say to the market? Part of me thinks we have spent all this money and there has ben no recognition from the market – but we have to do this not just for advertisers, but for our other customers – the people on the street.”

He further adds/ “A lot of agencies and advertisers will look back on the World Cup and see that they have missed a wonderful thing.” Digby says he has been compelled to speak out following the “huge amount of inaccurate assumptions” that have been made about the broadcaster’s handling of the World Cup and its failure to attract an expected 20% upturn in June revenues.

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